Our buses from Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (the world's largest LGBTQ synagogue) were literally in a fog from New York all the way to DC. On the bus, people shared personal stories of previous marches and actions for social justice and why they were making this trip to the Women's March on Washington. Then we arrived at the headquarters of the American Federation of Teachers, and were soon immersed in a sea of people walking purposely through the fog. The designated route overflowed to all the surrounding streets. The Washington Mall, originally off-limits to the marchers, was filled.
Handcrafted signs of our times were everywhere. Creative, biting, and humorous—people from all walks of life wanted the urgency of their concerns to be seen and heard. Bright pink "pussy cat" hats were everywhere; groupings were identifiable by their distinct yarn colors, textures, and patterns. If you couldn't get into the speakers' area, it didn't matter—an amazing energy was everywhere. Cheers and whoops resounded through the crowds.
I noticed a small group on the edge of a grassy area away from all the crowds. These were the "Bikers for Trump," about two dozen of them, hanging around a musician doing cover tunes on a stage. At one point the bikers chanted "USA! USA!" in response to the marchers reprise of, "This is what democracy looks like!"
Going up Pennsylvania Avenue, the marchers got louder and angrier as we passed the heavily guarded Trump International Hotel. Further on, I spotted three young men wearing Trump hats; I photographed them and we wished each other a good day. I could have stayed all day, the crowd seemed endless, but it was time to catch the bus. Everyone on the ride back was delighted and energized by our efforts in Washington, and by news of the millions who attended the 673 sister marches all over the world. This is a start.
See Meryl Meisler's photos below.
Meryl Meisler lives and works in New York City. You can follow her work here.